Be the Social Media Queen (or King) of Your Dreams
An Introduction to "The Social Hour"
Cozy up. Grab a drink. Any drink. Whiskey, water, a swig of that red gatorade that's been in your fridge for a few months. (Okay, maybe not that one.)
My name is Katie. Welcome to my column, "The Social Hour," where I'll be your go-to social media spirit animal. I'm here to guide you in using social media to successfully promote your book AND your brand as an author.
Social media is so important for you and your book because it's a direct line of contact between you and your readers. You can engage with fans, share pictures, updates about book readings or other events, announce new books, manage social media advertising, and a lot more. Growing your fanbase is key to snatching up more readers—and catching the eye of potential business partners, book stores, industry influencers, and even traditional publishers.
Chances are, you're probably already on social media in your personal life. Good—you know what you're in for. But things are just a little different when you're running a brand or business page—especially on Facebook. Here are some quick tips for getting your author social media accounts up and running, but don't worry—I'll dig into these topics deeper in future articles.
Great Photos Are a Must
You NEED good photos on social media. It's a nonverbal way to instantly let potential new fans know that you're the real deal and that you take yourself seriously. Say it with me: Pixelated, blurry photos are never, ever, ever okay. Have a friend take your photo or even hire a professional photographer—trust me, it'll be worth it.
Ask Your Friends and Family to Like or Follow Your Official Page
This is where it all starts. You shouldn't be spammy about it—nobody likes the annoying, 24/7 self-promoter. A couple of posts a year reminding your friends and family where they can follow your official page is perfect.
Follow Industry Influencers
By this I mean you should follow book critics, bloggers, relevant publications, authors of all levels, or anyone who you think would be important for you as an author to keep tabs on. They'll keep you up-to-date on industry news, and if you interact smartly, strategically, and not annoyingly, they might Retweet you, Share you, or endorse you somewhere down the road.
Know Your Hashtags
Indie authors are constantly using #amwriting, #indieauthor and #selfpub on Twitter. Read the conversations and jump in to share your thoughts.
Develop a Content Calendar
This is crucial. Decide how many posts per week you want to dedicate to self-promotion ("My new book is available for pre-order here!"), community engagement ("What do you guys think about movie versions of books?"), relatable and relevant articles or listicles (this Buzzfeed article on 17 Tumblr Posts All Book Lovers Will Feel in Their Soul is something any book lover can relate to), or any other categories you might want to add.
The best thing you can do—besides the tips above—is spend an hour or two looking over the social media accounts of your favorite popular authors to see what they post and what kind of voice they use. You don't have to adapt your online presence to match theirs exactly, but it's always good practice to know how successful people run their social media.
Here are some authors to follow who are really awesome at social media:
I can't stress this last point enough. Don't be fooled by this whole social media thing: it will not help you sell millions of books. Using social media purely as a marketing tool to sell books is not a good strategy. What I'll help you navigate is how to sell some books through social media by strategically building a following and focusing on your brand as an author.
Katie is a social media & advertising strategist.